AI Apps: We’re Not There Yet
As a writer, an SEO or digital marketer, it’s easy to feel threatened by the flood of AI writing software hitting the market. They promise to create long-form content in seconds, replacing the articles we’d be laboring over for most of a morning, afternoon or longer. Instant snappy headlines and social media posts that capture the attention of our audience? Not a problem. Research some quick statistics? Coming right up. Are these AI writers too good to be true? In a word, “yes”.
AI apps provide writing across a wide range of subject matter
Writing is a creative process for me and I do this fairly easily. But when work piles up, I thought it would be great to get some help from what is called “machine-learning”. So I bought a year’s subscription to an AI writer. There’s a lot out there, so you need to be thinking about what your needs are. I was interested in long form, so I didn’t choose the number one-ranked AI writer on the market. Long-form articles these days are generally around 1500-3000 words. Google needs words to chew on to start indexing our content. Five hundred words is a breeze; these long articles are more challenging.
I decided on AI writing software Writesonic
I created an account on Writesonic and logged in. There’s a little bit of a learning curve, but overall, the application is very easy to use.
- Identify a topic—not necessarily your ultimate subject line, but a pretty good idea of what the general topic is. This needs to be descriptive and should include your focus keyword/phrase.
- You’ll need to identify four keywords/phrases. While you can do keyword research in the application, I also subscribe to Ahrefs, which is a very powerful keyword research tool, so I used this.
- Plug your keywords in, separated by commas, and Writesonic goes to work and creates three sets of outlines from which to choose.
- Select the one you like best, hit the “Create article” button and in a few minutes, WriteSonic generates your article. Pretty amazing, huh?
Actually, it is pretty amazing. There’s an intro and a conclusion. I needed 1500 words, and that’s what I got in paragraphs that segue nicely with well-created subheads. At first glance, I was pretty impressed.
But closer reading reveals that this is an article that doesn’t have a soul. This application produces articles that no one will care about reading; certainly no one will finish. It deals in broad generalities that are without substance or meaning. There’s nothing compelling or illuminating.
Toward the end, the article completely runs out of steam, and it takes the last few paragraphs and just scrambles them, trying to trick us into believing there is new information. Good luck with that one. The article redeems itself somewhat by ending with a proper conclusion that’s a summary of the article.
I’ve gone back to the outline stage and recalibrated that article, which is an option. It’s more of the same.
So that’s a summary of my initial AI writing software story
While I was hoping for more, I was cautiously optimistic. I also know that audiences have dummied down considerably. Many people are going to think the articles that these content writers generate is just fine. And that’s a sad commentary.
But is there a place for a content writer? Absolutely! I’m bullish on AI content writers
I’m not competing with AI apps. I’m using this as a tool. If I have a lot of writing to do, and especially if it’s on a topic with which I’m not that familiar, an AI tool is just that—a very good tool to help me get started.
I can do my homework by doing keyword research, then plug those words into an AI content writer and it will help get me started. I can see myself doing this with several sets of keywords to build a broader framework.
AI writing software provides the shell from which I can construct a better article. It’s always easier when you have someplace from which to start. And remember that these AI apps are going to get better. That’s when we should start worrying about our jobs!
So in the standoff of the copywriter vs the content writer, how do we stand out?
The burden is on us to focus on meaningful content that our audience will want to read. We may not be able to keep up with the speed of AI technology, but thoughtful, compelling writing and by personalizing our output as much as possible, we can provide content that our audience wants to read. The secret is to put ourselves into our stories—and that includes the AI content.
Real-life examples help us connect with our audiences
Personal stories, case studies, and real-life examples can significantly impact how potential customers perceive your business. By using actual scenarios to illustrate the effectiveness of our products or services, we can create an emotional connection with our audiences that encourages them to take action.
Good marketing tells a story
Stories are powerful because they draw people in and find themselves relating to us. If we’re describing a scenario that someone has actually experienced or wants to experience or knows someone who has, we’re starting to build a relationship. We’re relating to that person.
Telling success stories about existing clients is a way to showcase our expertise. Or highlight a member of our team—a great way to emphasize our commitment to customer care. We want to create an emotional connection with prospective customers who may be on the fence about making a purchase. If done correctly, stories can also encourage impulse buying by tapping into the customer’s desire to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Reaching our audience on an emotional level
This from the July 2022 Harvard Business Review: “Thousands of years ago, Aristotle identified pathos as a critical element in communication and persuasion. Pathos, in philosophy and rhetoric, is a purposeful appeal to emotion to evoke specific feelings in one’s audience. Aristotle understood way back then that the human connection makes a huge difference in provoking action. Logic makes us think, but emotions make us act.”
Creating an AI content strategy that saves money
AI content generators are now able to generate unique and realistic pieces of a wide range of content at a fraction of the time and cost it would take for human writers. This is transforming the way businesses operate, allowing them more freedom to focus on their core processes. For example, one manufacturing company had to outsource their writing tasks for product descriptions to multiple agencies, but now they’re utilizing AI-powered content generators tailored specifically to their needs.
They’ve not eliminated their need for writers, but they’re now consolidating their needs and hiring fewer writers to manage the process. Those writers are subject matter experts who can quickly rewrite AI-generated content that isn’t quite right or that needs more substance. They can flesh out content with good examples. It’s a process that’s been infinitely more productive and cost-effective than farming out all of their content needs to an agency.
Use AI content generators for case studies
Case studies are another powerful tool that businesses can use to demonstrate the case for AI content generators. By highlighting the success of businesses that have successfully harnessed the power of AI content generators, we can convince potential customers that this is a necessary tool for their business.
Think of all of the other great AI content tools that assist copywriters—these apps are helping us, not replacing us. I’ve been fooling around with Wordtune and just heard about Quillbot. Every writer should be using Grammarly. It checks for spelling, sure, but so much more. It finds better, more efficient ways of constructing sentences and checks for plagiarism. SEO specialists are using SurferSEO to analyze competing content. There are just so many great apps out there. Again, think of these as tools not as competition but as tools that help us be better writers.
How is HubSpot using AI content generators?
For example, you could look at a company like HubSpot and explain how they use AI content generators to create custom content specifically for their customers. This allows them to provide high-quality content that is relevant and helpful while also reducing the time and cost it would take for a human writer to produce the same type of content.
Examples of AI-generated content include blogposts and whitepapers
AI content can take a variety of forms, but some of the most common examples are blogposts, articles and white papers. By writing in an engaging and easy-to-read style, we can help potential customers understand our products or services in an informative and entertaining way.
AI content writers vs Google: Trouble in search-engine land?
While I’m delighted with having this new tool, there may be a few clouds on the horizon. I’m reading that the mighty Google may be weighing in on AI content and expressing its displeasure. Yes, those are grumblings you’re hearing from Google land. Know that there are lots of these AI writer applications on the market and likely more in the pipeline. And of course, Google has an AI application of its own. It’s called Wordcraft, and you may want to wait for its publication of the great American novel. Remember that writing is a task with which many adults struggle. When we write for the web, they caution us to write for a 5th-grade level audience.
Just as an AI writing assistant may improve our search engine rankings, using it to create our text may send your performance down the drain.
While the supporting data is largely anecdotal at this point, it seems that the latest Google search update was aimed directly at artificially generated content. Remember that good content is nonnegotiable and we always want to steer clear of keyword stuffing. So if you’re not using good keywords and getting garbage from your AI content generator, you very well might be creating crappy content, and that violates Google’s ideology.
This from Matt G. Southern at Search Engine Journal, “Google prioritizes high-quality content, regardless of whether humans or machines generate it. Google advises publishers to produce helpful, people-first content that demonstrates expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). Using automation or AI strictly to manipulate rankings in search results is considered a violation of Google’s spam policies.”
And AI software sometimes lies . . .
We should also expect that there will be some inaccuracies from AI content generators. The lying isn’t necessarily intentional, but let’s face it, just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. AI writing software can’t distinguish between facts and fiction, so it isn’t necessarily 100% true. We should always be skeptical of AI-generated content, and if we’re using an AI content tool, the burden is on us to carefully proofread our content, being alert to veracity, even as we check for spelling and grammar. AI content writers also make grammatical errors.
One more thing: This AI text can sound formal and unnatural.
Should we be using this content as a standalone deliverable? Not yet
The AI content lacks the detail that makes us want to read on and come back for more.
- AI content is based on our keywords, and keywords alone are not enough to drive compelling content.
- It’s up to us to flesh out this content with examples, case studies and real-life examples that will engage our audience.
- There’s one more thing—the tone of AI-generated content. While we have the ability to choose whether we want the tone to be friendly, conversational, etc., it comes out sounding stiff and formal. We need to soften this up and make it more approachable.
In conclusion: Content writer vs copywriter
Should we be worrying about our jobs? No. Well, not yet anyway. We should be embracing AI content writers as great new tools to be used in conjunction with existing processes and resources. And that includes us. AI content writers are not going to replace good writing. They’re stiff and unnatural and don’t begin to provide the level of detail and example that make us want to read more.
They do, however, provide a great starting place, especially if we’ve got a lot of writing to do. They’re a starting place. Use these machine learning tools for what they are good for, then embellish with details, case studies and examples that will make your readers want to pick up the phone and call you.